Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement
The objectives and mission of the Stevens Memorial Library is to select, organize, preserve and make freely available to local residents as much printed and other materials as space and budget will permit. The library seeks to promote endeavors that will stimulate and expand the reading and intellectual interests of both children and adults and to coordinate cooperatively this work with other educational, social and cultural groups in the community.

Community Profile

The Town of North Andover is located in Essex County, approximately 24 miles north of Boston. The Town lies along the banks of the Merrimack River and is surrounded by the Towns of Methuen, Haverhill, Boxford, Andover, Middleton, North Reading, and the City of Lawrence. The settlement of the Town began in 1640 and it was incorporated as Andover in 1646. The community was split into the North Parish (now North Andover) and South Parish (now Andover) in 1709. North Andover was incorporated as a separate entity in 1855. North Andover is governed by an open Town Meeting form of government, a five-member Board of Selectmen, and a Town Manager pursuit to a Home Rule Charter that went into effect in 1986.

Although North Andover contains several industrial parks, the Town has retained a rural character and contains over 3,000 acres of preserved open space. The Town is served by interstate Route 495, Route 125, Route 133, and Route 114. Lawrence Municipal Airport is also located within the Town. North Andover is a thriving community of 27,965, with an excellent school system, efficient services and a strong commitment to its citizens. The workforce comprises primarily Managers and Professionals with service occupations placing a distant second. 93.1% of the population have a high school diploma or higher with 50.5% holding a BA. 93.7% of our citizens are white, followed by 4% Asian. The per capita income is $34,355 with a median family income of $91,105. The median value of a single-family home is $316,500. In 2004, the unemployment rate in the town was 5.4%.

The Stevens Memorial Library

1. Collection Objective

The library’s collection is developed based upon knowledge of the community, the existing collection, empirical data about the use of the collection and input from staff and patrons. The Library’s chief service commitment is to the people within its service area including people of every age, education, background, personal philosophy, religious belief, occupation, economic level, ethnic origin and human condition.

The general objective of the Stevens Memorial Library is to select, organize, preserve and to make freely and easily available to the people of the community print, software, non-print and other materials, within the limitations of space and budget, which will aid them in the pursuit of education, information, research, and in the creative use of leisure time. The goal of the library is the maximum use of its collection by the greatest number of people.

The Library seeks to promote endeavors which will stimulate and expand the reading, listening and viewing interests of adults, young adults, children, seniors and families and to coordinate this work with that of other educational, social, and cultural groups in the community in cooperative effort.

It is the responsibility of the Library to satisfy the diverse reading, listening and viewing needs and interests of the residents of the community through selection, acquisition, and organization of library materials and to provide skilled instruction in their use. This can be done by making known the resources of the library through various activities and media within and outside the Library, and through utilization of the collections within the Regional System.

In its selection of books and other materials, the Stevens Memorial Library subscribes fully to the principles endorsed by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights and endorses its stand that the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View are essential to our democracy. It is the function and duty of the public library to provide the means, whenever possible, through which all persons may have free access to the thinking on all sides of all ideas. see Appendix for Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View Statements.

Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents and no catalogued book or other item will be sequestered, except for the express purpose of protecting it from injury or theft.

2. Responsibility For Selection

Final responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director and other qualified library staff members who operate within the framework of policies determined by the Library Trustees. Staff members and the general public may recommend materials for consideration.

Review sources used by this Library include, but are not limited to: Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Horn Book, New York Times Book Review, publishers’ catalogs and fliers and reviews furnished by the Regional System and other public media.

3. Criteria For Selection

Adult Non-Fiction

Chief points considered are readability of material, authenticity of factual matter presented, quality of writing, cost, format, existing Library holdings and suitability of material to the community.

Titles are selected on the basis of the content as a whole and without regard to the personal history of the author. Important books representing all points of view should be carried. In no case is any book included or excluded merely because of the race or nationality, or the political views of the writer.

In the case of controversial questions, variety and balance of opinion are sought whenever available.

Adult Fiction

Selection of adult fiction is made with reference to one or more of these criteria:

  1. It should contribute positively to the individual’s awareness of self, community, and social heritage.
  2. It should contribute to the value of the library’s collection as a whole by representing all types and styles of literature.
  3. It should provide reading for recreational and creative use of leisure time.
  4. Serious works which present an honest aspect of life are not necessarily excluded for frankness of expression.

Children’s Materials

The first objective in selecting children’s materials is to encourage the child’s joy in reading and in being read to.

Books are selected which offer adventures of mind and spirit to the growing child, cultivating an appreciation of literature both oral and written and encouraging the creative use of leisure time by inquiring minds. Each book, old or new, is judged on its own merits and in its relation to the collection as a whole. Special attention is given books of use and value to parents and teachers, and other adults working with children. Nonfiction materials are selected for their readability, authenticity of factual matter presented, quality of writing, cost, format, and their ability to educate and excite children about their world. Non-print materials are selected to educate, inform, or entertain and can come in a variety of formats including DVDs, videocassettes, music CDs, and books on tape or CD.

Materials for Young Adults are selected using the same criteria and are age-appropriate for students in middle and high school. Materials may include formats and genres other than those found in the adult and children’s collections such as MP3 and graphic novels. Books that supplement programs specifically aimed at teenagers may also be purchased.

The public library does not provide basic texts or materials needed in quantity for schoolwork. It accepts as its responsibility the providing of supplementary materials of varied kinds to enrich the resources available to the individual student and teacher.

Reference Materials

Factors considered in the selection of reference materials are authority, reliability, scope, treatment, arrangement, format, cost, and existing holdings. Reference materials should cover a broad cross-section of subjects and should be kept current. Access to reference materials through electronic databases is provided through the library’s website to complement its print collection and to make information available online.

Magazines and Newspapers

Basic popular, general informational, and scholarly magazines are selected to supplement the general collection, provide up-to-date information, and fill in those areas where books and other materials are weak, inferior or non-existent.

Newspapers are selected to meet reference and research needs of patrons, to provide current information, and to satisfy casual interests.

Local and national newspapers are supplied upon sufficient demand and within budget and space limitations. Access to newspapers and magazines is also made available through online databases in order to broaden the collection beyond what can be purchased or housed in the library.

Non-Print Materials

The library recognizes the importance of non-book materials as an integral component of its print collection. These materials will be purchased in accordance with criteria outlined for adult and children’s materials. Formats for non-print materials may include, but are not limited to, DVDs, videocassettes, music CDs, CD-ROMs, books on tape or CD, and electronic resources such as online databases and the library’s website.

4. Weeding

Professional staff will review the collection on an ongoing basis with the goal of maintaining the quality and vitality of library resources. This process of collection management incorporates the use of circulation reports, database use statistics, and other statistical information for continuous collection evaluation. Worn, damaged, and dated materials are weeded from the collection on a regular basis. Materials may also be withdrawn if they are not used or are superseded by a new edition or a more authoritative work on the same subject.

The same criteria will be used in weeding materials from the collection as is used in the acquisition of materials. The goal of weeding the collection is to maintain an up-to-date, relevant, and attractive collection.

5. Gifts

Gifts accepted by the Stevens Memorial Library are judged upon the same basis as purchased materials. They are considered with the explicit understanding that such factors as duplication, lack of community interest, processing costs or inadequate shelf space may prevent their addition to the collection or permanent retention on the shelves. Gifts are accepted with the understanding that the Library, if it cannot use them, may turn them over to the Friends of the Library for their book sales, or dispose of them in any way it sees fit.

6. Memorial Gifts

A memorial gift is created when money or material is donated to add books or other materials to the collection, usually in memory or honor of an individual or group. The library welcomes suggestions for purchases, but reserves the right to the final decision regarding all materials. A memorial may be placed in the library collection, either for reference or circulating use. The library will insert a memorial bookplate for memorial items.

7. Reconsideration of Library Materials

New books and other materials are selected by the Library Director and staff following the general guidelines of the Materials Selection Policy. If a patron has a complaint about any library material and feels it does not conform to the General Policy, a complaint form may be requested. No action will be taken unless this form is submitted. The Library Director will review the complaint and will respond within two weeks. A letter will be sent to the patron informing him/her of the decision. If the action taken is unsatisfactory to the patron, a letter may be written to the Board of Trustees who will make a final decision and inform the patron of that decision within two months.

Censorship of books, and other materials, urged or practiced by volunteer arbiters of morals or political opinion, or by organizations which would establish a coercive concept of Americanism, must be challenged by the libraries in maintenance of their responsibility to provide public information and enlightenment through both print and non-print sources.

Final responsibility for what any individual reads, hears or views must be with that individual. Responsibility for what children read and view rests with their parents and legal guardians.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees
Date September 13, 2005